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I'm wondering what general fitness would suffice to hike to the base camp of Everest? Does it requires special fitness regime and focus on main body parts like legs and core strength?

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    Are you are aware of the problems with the Altitude of base camp, and expect its effects to be covered by the answers. – user5330 Aug 16 '15 at 21:47
  • Might want to talk to your doc about diamox : forge-right.com/blog/… – Eric Aug 17 '15 at 0:08
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    Just to add to @radpin comment: The use of drugs to aid acclimatisation is not recommended. Many companies offer these to get their clients up and down without the necessary time (and expense) of proper acclimatisation strategies. Never take drugs without a Dr's consent. – user2766 Aug 17 '15 at 9:03
  • Are you planning on doing this supported (with sherpa's/a treking company) or solo? There isn't really enough detail in this question to answer properly. – user2766 Aug 17 '15 at 9:12
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    If you use drugs to speed up your ascent, what do you do if you get into trouble? Drugs should be reserved for emergency care, not to allow you to push safe limits – user5330 Aug 18 '15 at 4:31
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I assume you're talking about the south base camp in Nepal, which is the more popular destination. The typical route gains about 8000 feet over 40+ miles, which is really quite gentle, although the net effect of all that altitude is significant.

It's mostly class 1 with some class 2 (rough trail/scrambling), so no technical skills required. Supplies/lodging are readily available, so you wouldn't necessarily need more gear than for any day hike.

Other than the need to acclimatise, it sounds pretty easy, at least from my perspective.

  • Thank you @Patrick for the answer. Yes i was talking about south base camp. So does that mean just the basic Fitness (like 3 days gym with moderate intensity and 50km cycling per week) would suffice and doesn't need a special Fitness regime? – Vishwa Aug 16 '15 at 15:31
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    @Vishwa: There's no way for somebody to tell you over the internet whether a certain workout routine will allow you to complete a certain hike. If you're not sure whether you can handle a hike as described by Patrick N's answer, the only way for you to become more sure would be to attempt similar activities and see how it goes. – Ben Crowell Aug 16 '15 at 17:02
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    Absolutely agree. I wouldn't try this without having done some long-distance hiking and some hiking at altitude. It'd really suck to do this and find out 6 days in that your footwear gives you blisters and you pass out above 4000 meters. My general philosophy is to practice like you play- if you don't have any hikes nearby, you can always throw 10 liters of water in a backpack and go for a 15km walk. Cardio and endurance work are going to help more than strength training- I cycle 50km every day to get to work, and that doesn't feel like too much, so from my view you could maybe ramp that up. – Patrick N Aug 16 '15 at 17:53
  • Yes, I do hiking but not high altitude. Yes as you guys have suggested I will need to consider some more hiking before making any decisions. Thanks a lot @Patrick – Vishwa Aug 16 '15 at 21:58
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    +1: This answers the asked question very well, but I think the OP may have asked the wrong question. Its unclear the OP (or a later reader) is aware of how critical acclimatisation is and how little fitness effects acclimatisation. Is more emphasis on the need to acclimatise warranted? – user5330 Aug 17 '15 at 0:35
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While Patrick's answer here clears many of the points, I would like to make up a few points about warm-up routines and acclimatization.

A few points may sound very specific to you and not really generic at all. For us, Indians, that weather is not really what you can call normal and pleasant, with the gradual (if it is) gain in altitude adding to a wee bit woes like milder headaches.

While assuming that you are already overall prepared physically, make sure that you go for multi-day hikes before you set off to Nepal.

  1. It should ideally take 12 days (round trip) to get back in Kathmandu. Make sure that you are physically and psychologically (I know you must be) prepared for a 12-day hike if you are not really used to of doing so. I have seen people hauling a 18 kg backpack effortlessly for close to 5 days and then there they loose it later.
  2. Practice ascends. In India, specifically in the non-Himalayan terrains, people are not really used to the habit of multi-day ascends. They would usually gain height for a day, camp at night and then probably descend the same or the other way down. At EBC, you would gain height for 3 days on a stretch. Need not be worried about, those are awesome planes to gain heights, but be prepared.
  3. If you don't really pay much attention to warm-up routines here, you can't get away by doing the same there. Get used to with the habits of stretching and other warm-up routines.
  4. Know your gear. Gear has a lot to do with your overall physical capability. Be it the shoes, or be it the backpack, or whatever. Get familiar with the gear. Sometimes a newer backpack bought specifically for such an expedition is not something that you get used to with on day 1. You might want to consider using the same lot of gear in the region known to you so that you would know what you are taking along. I have had a bad time on field due to a costly backpack that I thought would suit me, it didn't.
  5. Even on your best day, you would not want to gamble with acclimatization as it is planned. If you haven't given acclimatization a thought, do that. From a month before I was to leave, I was advised to stop/avoid taking Aspirin if I do in case headaches. Up there, you would want to avoid painkillers for silly reason and would definitely want to know whats happening with your body. If you have headaches, you need to know, rather than suppressing it with painkillers.

A very important thing to remember: Many a times overall public health in Kathmandu is a something that you should be really careful about. Do not gamble on Food and Water quality in Kathmandu. A Gastrointestinal infection is as common as a mosquito bite over there.

For the preparedness part of it, you would want be able to check 'Yes' with most of the things below.

  • I can haul a 15 kg backpack.
  • I am absolutely game for 3 consecutive days of gradual uphill hikes.
  • I am absolutely fine with garlic-rich food.
  • My trekking schedule during the whole thing is inclusive of the buffer time should I need to delay something by a day.
  • I am comfortable at colder weather than I am usually at.
  • I am not going to exert myself beyond a certain limit that I feel like this is once in a lifetime shot at it.

Have a safe trek!

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    I have got more than what I asked, thanks a mill @Wedapashi. I was thinking of asking as different questions. Not sure if I can change this question to include more aspects that cover wider area to complete this task? Yes as you have mentioned I have never been on multi day hike. I need to consider this and should be prepared for that. And acclimatization is one important aspect that I should have asked as part of this question. – Vishwa Aug 17 '15 at 14:34
  • @Vishwa: You should ask a separate question for acclimatization. The answers here would be distorted if you edit this question. – user5330 Aug 18 '15 at 4:28

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